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Blackberry Android

BlackBerry Launches Android Smartphone 127

wiredmikey writes: In an attempt to come back from the dead, BlackBerry announced plans to sell an Android-powered smartphone. The struggling Canadian smartphone maker said it would begin selling "Priv," described as "a flagship handheld device that will run on the Android operating system with BlackBerry security," expected to be available later this year. The company isn't giving up on its own operating system, and will continue to develop and enhance its BlackBerry 10 platform, which currently represents less than one percent of smartphone users.
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BlackBerry Launches Android Smartphone

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  • 6 years (Score:4, Insightful)

    by danbob999 ( 2490674 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @04:10PM (#50600417)

    They are 6 years too late.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by narcc ( 412956 )

      It was a stupid idea then, and it's a stupid idea now. "Hey, let's toss out every advantage we have and become another me-too player in a crowded market!"

      Android hasn't exactly been a path to success for anyone but Samsung. Their own OS, QNX, is superior in just about every way imaginable, including development tools.

      The board should have fired Chen just for suggesting they do something this foolish.

      • Re:6 years (Score:5, Insightful)

        by iONiUM ( 530420 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @04:25PM (#50600539) Journal

        I disagree, I think it's a very smart idea. Regardless of whether QNX is superior or not technically, it no longer matters. They've lost because people want to use what is popular (and has apps), and Android and iOS are it.

        If they can take Android, which is open source, and create their own fork of it which is proven to be much more secure yet can still use the Android app eco-system, it could very well be a big hit when combined with good QWERTY phones.

        As such, I agree with the OP, they should have done it a long time ago, and I think it's too late now.

        DISCLAIMER: I've had a BB Z10 and Q10 since they came out, and love the keyboard, but I also have a Nexus 5 which I use almost exclusively because of all the problems I have with the BB phones.

        • by mcrbids ( 148650 )

          Regardless of whether QNX is superior or not technically, it no longer matters. They've lost because people want to use what is popular (and has apps), and Android and iOS are it.

          I'm just glad that, a few years ago, when Windows/OSX ruled the roost, that the hairy hippies didn't say this about Linux. We can crow now, that Linux is installed on more devices than any other kernel or O/S, but Linux wasn't always such a sure bet.

          Diversity is good. I welcome it. I'm hoping they digest the Android ecosystem and learn to use it to strengthen QNX.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            I don't know what you think Linux has achieved; Linux is about freedom, but on virtually every such mobile platform on which it's installed, it's nearly impossible for the user to exert any sort of meaningful control (at least without resorting to dubious guerrilla tactics).

            Linux, Windows, QNX, iOS.... WHO CARES?! The result is the same: A walled garden that is both badly designed and constructed, and there's nothing you can do about it, because you cannot afford the permits to fix it.

        • Re:6 years (Score:5, Interesting)

          by acoustix ( 123925 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @04:40PM (#50600659) Homepage

          If they can take Android, which is open source, and create their own fork of it which is proven to be much more secure yet can still use the Android app eco-system, it could very well be a big hit when combined with good QWERTY phones.

          Here's the problem: Android isn't 100% open source (at least the way I understand it). The first part is obvious: Google Play Services. This is not open source, but it is needed to run many of the apps. (this is also why I can't run some of the Android apps on my BB Z10) There are also many binaries included in the Android OS where there is no code available. Because of that BlackBerry (or any other company) cannot guarantee the security of the device running Android. So they cannot have a secure device like a BB10 device.

          BlackBerry is doing what some of their supporters want: Great hardware (which is what BB is known for) running an OS with tons of apps.

          BlackBerry will continue to develop the BB10 OS because they have many customers that demand it.

          My disclaimer: I've had my Z10 since launch and I still love it. The BB10 OS is very well designed, fast and secure. I love it.

          • Re:6 years (Score:5, Insightful)

            by danbob999 ( 2490674 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @05:01PM (#50600839)

            The BB10 OS is very well designed, fast and secure.

            How do you know how secure it is?

            • No hacks available.
              BTW, it wasn't taken on any Pwn2own
            • How do you know how secure it is?

              Marketing, duh, something you Android plebs would never understand.

              What's the difference between a televangelist pitching God and a marketer pitching Blackberry's comeback? There's a slight chance God might be real.

          • by Prune ( 557140 )

            Google Play Services. This is not open source, but it is needed to run many of the apps. (this is also why I can't run some of the Android apps on my BB Z10)

            I can't tell if you're trolling, but you can run Google Play Services on BlackBerry (I'm running them on my Passport, for example, along with dependent apps like Snapchat, or even the Google Play Store). Regularly updated patched versions of the Google services are in the top post at http://forums.crackberry.com/a... [crackberry.com]

          • have replacements handy for anything that matters? The browser is Open Source. The messaging apps are what make blackberry blackberry, so they could give a *bleep* about losing those. I suppose there's google maps. But google makes that available because the positional data is too valuable to give up. I guess you'll lose that awesome mid-90s style music player.
        • You'll have to forgive narcc. He is understand the delusion that RIMM can do and has never done anything wrong. Saying something like then Playbook was incomplete when launched is a heresy! Heresy!
        • by c ( 8461 )

          I disagree, I think it's a very smart idea.

          Depends on whether they approach it from a software or a hardware angle.

          It they go software and heavily skin Android to give a BB-like experience... not such a good move. If people wanted a BB skin with Android apps, BB wouldn't be in the situation they're in.

          If they approach it from a hardware angle, they could do very well, especially with the keyboard phones. But if they do well then they do risk the knock-off manufacturers trying to undercut them.

        • . They've lost because people want to use what is popular (and has apps), and Android and iOS are it.

          That is NOT why they lost. They lost because BlackBerry Server was stupid expensive, and each unit licensing was even more expensive.

          They could have killed everyone by giving the server away, and charging for "enhanced" features that a few people might have wanted. But they didn't and that is the end of that story.

      • Um, did you even read the summary? They're not tossing out BBOS, this is in addition to it. Moreover, it's not "me-too", they're supposedly adding BB security to Android, to make this more than just yet-another-Android.

        Now of course, I'm rather dubious that their efforts are going to pan out here, but just going by the summary, it's certainly not a case of "let's toss out what makes us unique and become another me-too player in a crowded market".

        Finally, their big "advantage" (the BB OS and ecosystem and

      • Android hasn't exactly been a path to success for anyone but Samsung.

        It's one thing not to succeed in the smartphone market. But companies who didn't succeed, such as Sony, HTC, LG, at least didn't have to develop and support a full operating system. So they lost a lot less focus than Blackberry.

        Their own OS, QNX, is superior in just about every way imaginable, including development tools.

        When did they get multitouch? WiFi hotspot? Back and front camera support? GPS? [insert any feature here]? That's right, the answer is always at least 6-12 months after the competition.
        People don't care about the OS kernel used. They care about features they see and application suppo

      • Oh fuck off. QNX isn't even the most prevalent RTOS out there. It's an outdated OS that BB has utterly mismanaged, along with everything else.

        At this point, it is completely irrelevant what BB does. In fact, it's been completely irrelevant for half a decade now. The company was fucked five years ago, it was fucked four years ago, it was fucked three years ago, it was fucked two years ago, it was fucked last year, it's fucked this year, it will be fucked next year, and probably in the next year or two will t

      • First, QNX isn't BlackBerry OS
        Second, the tools for QNX are not what you use to create apps for BBOS.
        Third, effectively, nobody is making apps for BBOS. Wouldn't surprise me if there are more apps for it using the Android shim layer than there are native BBOS apps.

    • by gmack ( 197796 )

      Maybe not. I finally gave up and bought a phone without a physical keyboard and I HATE it. Everyone tells me I'll get used to it, but that never seems to happen.
      The Android Space is now dominated by phones that all look the same, act the same and have the same features and the only thing that changes is the size and the phones I loived were the first victims .

      If Blackberry gives me an Android phone with a keyboard I'm there in a flash.

      • Maybe not. I finally gave up and bought a phone without a physical keyboard and I HATE it. Everyone tells me I'll get used to it, but that never seems to happen.

        You don't even like not picking your finger up between letters mode? Whatever that's called. That's the one thing that's finally got me over the physical keyboard. Just swipe words. It's actually faster, once you get good at it. One day we'll have touch screens that form raised areas and then you'll be able to have both in one thing, it'll be glorious.

  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @04:21PM (#50600499) Journal

    *Offer not valid where prohibited by law*

  • by pz ( 113803 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @04:22PM (#50600517) Journal

    The closing sentence in the summary suggests that the BlackBerry 10 is a losing proposition because it represents less than 1% of the market.

    The mobile phone market is so enormously vast that 1% of it would still be quite large, thankyouverymuch. Nearly everyone in the US has a phone. Let's use round numbers: say we have 300,000,000 phones in the US. 1% of that would be 3,000,000 phones. Each phone has an expected replacement cycle of 3 years, so the sales should be about 1,000,000 units per year.

    Please show me a single manufacturer that would not be jumping out of their pants to move a million units a year. Heck, there probably aren't that many manufacturers that COULD deliver at that level.

    • by danbob999 ( 2490674 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @04:37PM (#50600639)

      They don't have 1%. They have about one third of it. They have 0.37% of smartphones, or 0.27% of phones sold in 1H2015.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
      If they could still keep this market share they could be fine. But they are loosing both market share and absolute sales every quarter. Mostly because they still have contracts with some slow-moving corporations, all of which are looking to switch.
      Their other problem is that it can be worth it to develop phones for only 0.3% of the market, but it's not worth it to develop and support an OS for them. Switching to Android could make sense. Only, it's too late.

    • You have a good point here, but on the other hand, TFS itself said that Blackberry is "struggling". There's lots of companies that sell much less than 1M units a year which aren't "struggling", they make enough profit for the size of their company. It sounds like 1M units a year simply isn't enough for BB to stay profitable. If they're so large they have their own OS team (QNX) and R&D teams, that might not be enough volume for them to stay profitable. Worse, if their marketshare (and absolute unit

      • by Guspaz ( 556486 )

        They used to own essentially the whole market. They now have 0.5% marketshare. Their revenue has been in freefall since 2011, and quarters with profits have been few and far between. If that's not struggling, I don't know what is.

        That said, it looks like their revenue and marketshare is starting to stabilize, and they may be able to keep going as a boutique Android vendor. But they're essentially irrelevant to the market, with no influence on it. That's not really success, that's just life support.

        • that's just life support is okay with us. We won't be chasing those figures that seem all-too-important to bean counters and Wall Street. Go ahead and say, Too late the hero You probably use a gadget that does the job. And we'll be fine too...over here.

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @04:36PM (#50600635) Journal
    Blackberry makes some stylish hardware [blackberry.com], so it could be a good move.
    Move into a new market, while not leaving your old market.
  • They would have been a lot smarter to have implemented Play Services or gotten their Android runtime Google Play certified so that it could run normal Google apps. That was really the main deciding factor for me to not get a Blackberry Passport---it simply won't run Google Play Services-dependent apps (though all other Android apps worked when sideloaded). Things that relied on Google Maps or any of the Google ID authentication failed to work, which is surprisingly a lot of apps. Simply improving their Andr

    • by Prune ( 557140 )

      it simply won't run Google Play Services-dependent apps (though all other Android apps worked when sideloaded)

      Can't tell if you're trolling or just ignorant. Google Play Services and dependent apps run fine on BB10 (I'm running them on my Passport, along with the Google Play Store). Regularly updated downloads for the patched versions in the first post at http://forums.crackberry.com/a... [crackberry.com]

  • I still remember in the old days the CEO/founder guy would hold up a new Blackberry model to the audience and yell,

    "Canadian Technology!"

    and the crowd would cheer.

  • Blackberry should have gone with Android from the get go. They could have produced a security hardened version of Android where personal apps and business apps resided in separate personas protected from each other. This was a strong and compelling option for companies that wanted BYOD but without the risk. They could have thrown in their software stack too and their own front end and would have made a lot of money.

    Now they're belatedly bringing out devices that run Android but it's basically just Samsung

  • I recall, prior to the launch of BB10, a spokeman doing a presentation on a stage in Toronto.

    "We're being careful, we're not going to screw this up, we're not going to promise anything we don't deliver and deliver on schedule. We know if we do, we're done."

    Then they cancelled BB10 for the Playbook, broke the BlackBerry Bridge, failed to make the Blackberry server component more administrator-friendly, and modified their phone interface to make it less useful than it could have been.

    They lied, and they have

  • Regardless of what people think of blackberry, I think that this method might help them. Android is a very popular (as in 89% of the world market popular), and the fact that they are giving you an android with a slide-out blackberry keyboard allows them to enter into a niche market for people who want a real qwerty keyboard. Practically every other smartphone developer has dropped their physical keyboards a few years back. I know because I tried looking for one for one of my family members as a christmas
  • (Had to repost. For some silly stupid reason the new slashdot logs you in, but posts your comments as ac. stupid untested beta creeps)

    You think it is too late? Late for poseurs and wannabees. Too late for them.

    I have been surrounded by iphoneatics and people with bigger and larger tablets you need two pairs of cargo pants to wear them, the second one for your brain in case it ever needs to multitask. Sure it'll fit, if you don't drop it on the floor.

    You'll be like the rest of the phoneatics, mesmerized by t

  • by GrahamJ ( 241784 )
    They didn't launch it. Nice clickbait.
  • by thogard ( 43403 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @09:08PM (#50602101) Homepage

    I bought a Q10 a few months ago after years of trying and then abandoning other smart phones. I managed to use it without signing up for any accounts for several weeks. I can run android apps on it without rooting the thing. You can port QT apps to it with ease.

    My phone uses MY servers for its data not someone one elses. That data link is fully encrypted and under my control.

    BB apps make more money for most app developers than iphone and android apps.

    The main problem with the thing is they managed to screw up the "screen lock/power" button so the thing turns off in my pocket. The thing has 39 buttons so they should drop pressing the top button to power off and require something like the top button and hold down "P" to power down and top button and "U" to unlock. I don't know how they could screw up something that has been well know for so long.

    • My phone uses MY servers for its data not someone one elses. That data link is fully encrypted and under my control.

      You do realize that AOSP includes a non-google-play email client (called "Email") which speaks standard protocols and doesn't call home to tell Google what you're up to, right? An Android phone without google play services is still useful. Android also includes IPSEC support, but of course you can use encrypted protocols for email without configuring that.

  • ... there are 2 ways you can compete in the marketplace - value (i.e., offering something that is worth buying because it offers something you can't get elsewhere) and price. Unless Blackberry are going to offer something useful that other Android OEMs can not offer, they're going to have to compete on PRICE. When they're broke, against the manufacturing might of all the cheap android OEMs in China.

    2c. They're toast.

  • I just want a Blackberry Classic running Android and MobileIron for 8-12 hours a day. Is that too much to ask?
  • I just noticed/read that Blackberry is Canadian. That explains a lot. :-)
  • My wife finally gave in and is using a touchscreen-only model now, but only because there were no viable choices with keyboards and even now she still uses a stylus for most things including text input. It makes me nuts but I'm not going to successfully smack the stylus out of her hand any more than you could smack the cigarette out of the mouth of a smoker.

    If Blackberry brings this out with 5.1 Lollipop or even manage to get Marshmallow on there, it will be the ONLY current keyboarded Android phone from a

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